Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced in front of a small crowd in Iowa that he is officially seeking the Republican presidential nomination by presenting himself as a straight-talking Midwesterner and taking direct aim at President Obama’s character and policies.
“President Obama’s policies have failed,” Pawlenty said in his announcement speech. “But more than that, he won’t even tell us the truth about what it’s really going to take to get out of the mess that we’re in.”
He said that he would speak truthfully to young adults and the elderly about the Social Security system’s unsustainability; let Wall Street know that under his leadership there would be no more bailouts; and that he would eliminate some agriculture subsidies.
“Conventional wisdom says you can’t talk about ethanol in Iowa or Social Security in Florida or financial reform on Wall Street,” Pawlenty said. “But someone has to say it. Someone has to finally stand up and level with the American people. Someone has to lead.”
Prior to the announcement, the Democratic National Committee released a video questioning Pawlenty's decision to run for president given his record as governor, during which he reduced healthcare for the state’s low income residents and Minnesota’s huge deficit.
“He can't run on his record as governor, where he cut services, raised taxes and left his state with a $6 billion deficit and plummeting approval ratings,” the ad says. “He can’t run as the Tea Party candidate after he tried to position himself as a reasonable Republican voice with a national audience by supporting measures like cap and trade and the previous administration’s deficit-busting policies.”
It also mocks Pawlenty for reportedly responding, “I don’t know” in an interview with Time magazine when asked why he was running for president. But according to Michael Crowley, who wrote the article, that part of the video is inaccurate.
“’I don't know’ referred more to when he first imagined himself as a POTUS than to his rationale. Still not quite JFKesque,” he twittered.
(Photo: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)